Business owners reap rewards

2017-11-30 06:01
Mthetho Stamper, Pinkie Luswazi, Bernice Pestana and Reakgile Pudumo were the big winners during the graduation and award ceremony of the USB small business academy.

Mthetho Stamper, Pinkie Luswazi, Bernice Pestana and Reakgile Pudumo were the big winners during the graduation and award ceremony of the USB small business academy.

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Acouple of Gugulethu business men have made a good showing at the University of Stellenbosch’s Small Business Academy.

Mthunzi “Rhorho” Stamper and Reakgile Pudumo recently graduated from a course for small business people.

Stamper runs AZ Suka Transport & General Logistics and he walked away with the most improved participant award while Pudumo, who founded Ekasi Recycling, won the most socially responsible business award.

Other winners inluded Bernice Pestana owner of C&B Autotrimmers, an upholstery company in Stikland, who received the Distell Award for the Business with the Most Potential.

However, the biggest winner on the day was Pinkie Luswazi of Luspin Production which is a street and formal wear design concern in Mandalay.

Stamper, whose improvement not only amazed his peers and lecturers but himself as well, said that he had learnt a lot through the course.

“I learnt a lot about the administration of a business as well as presentation. I was very shy but I soon came out of my shell and I started doing well,” he said.

Stamper transports school children and is also a service provider for local NGOs and various projects,” he said.

Pudumo said that his win has motivated him to push forward with the plans he has for his business. He started his business in 2011 along with his older brother, collecting cardboard and cans at local tarvens and has gone on to start an educational initiative where they teach school learners about the importance of recycling.

“I was shocked when my name was announced as a winner because there were classmates who have exceptional businesses that help their communities and I am happy to have won. It’s a motivation and it says I’m heading in the right direction,” he said.

The SBA programme, a sponsored, nine-month course, refines the knowledge of small business owners from previously disadvantaged communities in greater Cape Town, aimed at empowering small business owners with business knowledge, networking opportunities and mentorship. Its major funders are the Distell Foundation and Absa bank.

Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener, Head of the SBA programme, said that USB is incredibly proud of each participant for furthering their knowledge, sharpening their business skills and becoming leaders within their communities.

“Small businesses play a leading role in developing our country. According to a study undertaken by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and The Banking Association of South Africa over the last two years, the SME sector is estimated to contribute between 35%-45% and 50%-60% toward Gross Domestic Product.

“But the reality is also that not all SMMEs survive their first years. Typical hindrances include the inability to access funding, difficult social circumstances, poor market research, poor marketing and financial management practices and lack of access to vibrant markets. With this in mind, business education is fundamental in sustaining these small business owners. Institutions such as USB need to form partnerships with corporates to share their knowledge and skill set.

“By launching the SBA programme five years ago our aim was to fill the much needed gap for business education by engaging with small business owners, equipping them not only with knowledge, but also providing mentorship and exposing them to opportunities to engage with large corporates.”

Key note speaker on the day Ntabiseng Moleko, lecturer and author, encouraged the entrepreneurs to not give up on their businesses.

“There are many examples of big businesses that started small. Never underestimate your idea. We are sitting with a ticking time bomb of young people who are not employed so by opening small businesses we can be able to employ even if it’s a few people it makes a difference,” she said.

Entries are now open for the 2018 intake and interested small business owners need to apply online. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview and are required to complete an aptitude test. Visit www.usb.ac.za/sba/apply/wc for more information or contact Benjamin Matshoba at 021-9184379.

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